In times of economic strife, most people shy away from evolutionary business concepts, instead preferring to hunker down and ride out the storm with older, more comfortable ideas. But a lack of dynamism in business leads to stagnation—and stagnation to death. The business of boatbuilding is no exception. But thankfully, Tilli Antonelli is not “most people.”
Antonelli, the founder and former president of Pershing Yachts, is certainly no stranger to progressive nautical designs, but with his new company Wider Yachts, which he founded in March 2010, he has truly outdone himself. Wider is dedicated to producing innovative concepts expressly designed to stand out and make bold visual and design-oriented statements. Nowhere is this philosophy more evident than in Wider’s first launch, the 42, an open day boat that’s unlike any you’ve seen. First, the Wider 42 has an eponymous “cockpit.” Yes, you read that correctly: The area forward of the helm literally widens, almost like one of those high-end trailers movie stars use on set, increasing the beam from 11'6" to 21'6" while creating an expansive cockpit with 49 square feet of space.
This impressive engineering feat is complemented by vacuum-infusion molding using carbon fiber and vinylester resin, which means the boat is very light. When coupled with twin 370-hp Yanmar diesels and Arneson surfacing drives, that lightness converts to one thing—performance. Antonelli says the 42 can reach a top speed of 53 mph while boasting a range of 350 miles at a 46-mph cruise speed.
Furthermore, the Wider 42 has room to haul a RIB or jet ski on its stern. It also has replaced the standard heavy fiberglass seating found on most boats with inflatable cushions and seats that can double as watertoys if the mood strikes the owner. Clearly, this is not a boat for the faint of heart—but then again, these are not times for the faint of heart either.
This article originally appeared in the January 2011 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.